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New Boater-Questions to Ask Sellers

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  • New Boater-Questions to Ask Sellers

    Hey Everybody,

    I live in Juneau and I'm looking to pick up a little skiff to do some fishing, crabbing and fooling around in. I have very little experience with boats, so I'm looking for something safe and reliable. Also don't want to buy something that's gonna cost a fortune to keep running. I've got a few boats that I'm going to look at this week and I'm hoping for some opinions/suggestions as to what I should ask the seller.

    The boats are 1) 18' Bayrunner w/ a 48 hp Evinrude. Comes with a kicker, not sure what hp. Asking $4200 obo

    2) Western Skiff (16' ?) with a Mercury Outboard. Not sure of the hp, but I do know that it is oil injected. Asking $3500 obo

    Any and all advice will be very welcome. Thanks!

  • #2

    I'd go with the bayrunner. The combination of the extra 2' and an Evinrude over a Mercury any day! It would be well worth the extra $700 to me. Nearly all outboards now are oil injected unless you go 15-20 years back or further.

    My $.02

    The porcupine is a peaceful animal yet God still thought it necessary to give him quills....


    • #3
      Any old hull with a good motor will get you out, and more importantly, back again. A spiffy hull and a crappy motor won't leave the dock. A good plan is to find a hull you like with a crappy motor, use the motor condition to bring the price way down, then buy a new motor that you can trust.

      But if your not ready to buy a new motor, then remember the crappy hull/good motor theory.

      Ask if it's ever sank? It happens more than you think with little boats. They're easy to refloat and get working again. But, the wiring will never be the same. Don't run away from a boat that's sunk, but use that to your advantage.

      Does it have a trailer? Trailers are big bucks! I paid $3400 for a tandem EZLoader for my 22ft boat. Good used trailers are hard to find. Any good trailer will sell with the boat that sitting on it.

      What's included? The little things add up so try and get downriggers, fishing gear, life jackets/flares, fish finder, gps, fuel tanks, radios, etc. thrown into the deal.

      Get some oars. They're very handy in a boat that size.

      Hope that helps. Good luck.


      • #4
        Thanks for the replies! I'm taking the Bayrunner out tomorrow for a test run. It's got oars, a fishfinder, trailer, and two anchors that will come with the deal. Seems a little underpowered with a 48 HP...but hopefully that will get me by. And it has a 6hp kicker. Really don't know what to look for...any advice on how to tell if the hull is sound? Thanks again.


        • #5
          On the trailer

          When it is on the trailer just take a good look at the underneath. With an aluminum boat it is awful hard to hide damage. Check for dents, scrapes, HOLES, anything that doesn't look like it is supposed to be there. Especially on the keel near the bow and under the transom. These are key points that get bashed on the rocks from rough beachings and whatnot.

          If it is running a 48hp prop you should be ok on the power. I am running a 70hp prop on an 17' Alumaweld which is quite a bit heavier than the bayrunner if I remember right and it does great.

          The porcupine is a peaceful animal yet God still thought it necessary to give him quills....


          • #6
            Bayrunner tidbits

            I think you are on the right track with the Bayrunner -- they are solid trustworthy boats.

            48 is adequate power for the 18'. Depending on age (and the 48 suggests it is an older boat) it may have only been rated for a 50. Newer BRs are rated much higher than the older ones.

            For inspection I would:

            1) Carefully inspect the interior and exterior hull for cracked/broken welds. Depending on age you may find some. Crawl all over the gorund under the boat and look it over. Most welds are easily fixed for a few hundred bucks. It may also help you with your negotiations if you find one.

            2) Carefully inspect the transom. Depending on age bayrunners (and other similar hills) can get water inside the transom and rot out the wood that is sandwiched in there. Your best bet is to see that all penetrations through the transom are well caulked and that there are no holes/cracks uncaulked.

            3) My experience with used motors is that if they look clean and the hoses and other rubbers inside the cowling look fresh and like-new, then the motor is a good bet. Obviously you'll be running it before you buy which is critical also. Make sure it has a nice strong water stream and that is will idle at minimum throttle.

            Good luck.


            • #7
              I would pull the heads and check the cylinder walls for proper tolerance.
              I just found out the boat I bought a few years ago had all 4 cylinders bored over size for the pistons that are installed. Now I'm left with a rebuild of about $3000. Some a-hole knew this when he sold me the boat. It's a '96 Evinrude 80 Jet. I've lost piston rings on two different pistons in the last 4 years. The mechanic says that was due to cylinder being too big for the pistons causing too much play in the rings. I'll be checking cylinder walls from now on if I buy a used motor.


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